Thursday, September 21, 2006

Respect in a Shul

One of the things learned growing up is that you don't put a Siddur or Chumash on a seat where you sit becuase it is disrepspectful. With that in mind does the same hold for your Talis and Tefilin bag? There is kedusha towards these items as Mishna Berurah points out that you can not throw these items in the garbage after they were used to hold our talis and tefilin.

With those ideas in your mind, my next question is when people go to shul why do they leave their talis and tefilin bags on a seat in front of them or next to them? What if somone wants to sit there? This morning when I got to shul there was a whole row filled with peoples talis and tefillin bags which meant no one could sit there unless these kind people moved their talis and tefilin bags. Why couldn't these people designated one area and pile these bags on top oof each other? Why do these people feel that they can use up all the space in a small synagogue that they want while at the same time taking space away from someone else? To me, these people are selfish and disrespecting the synagogue which is not a storage facility or a place where someone cannot sit because it is being occupied by someones talis and tefilin bag.


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Gosh how you think of these things. Have a healthy sweet new year.

Rafi G said...

that always upsets me as well

FrumWithQuestions said...

Its not that I think of these things, I was sharing an experience I had in shul this morning. That was also not the first time that something like that has happened to me.

joshwaxman said...

don't paskin from this, but this was discussed on mail-jewish back in Feb 2000, where the answers (at least the two I saw) indicated it was OK:

To be malamed zechus, I would say: they want access to the talis/tefillin bag without sorting through a bunch of bags; there is no table, and so they just put it there; they might think that that bag is holding a spot for someone and don't want to put their bag in someone else's seat; in shuls where the seats are too close together for comfort, they are creating a buffer zone, so that they can focus on their tefillos; they figure that if there are really no more seats left, they, or the person that needs the seat, will move it.

Kol Tuv!

rescue said...

I am not sure it is a problem. A talis bag etc. is not a thing of kedushah. It is a tashmish kedusah i.e. it is something that serves something of kedusha. As opposed to a siddur or sefer which has its own kedushah. The difference being that when you want to discard your old talis bag, it may be permissable to throw it away (in certain honorable ways, not with your leftover chulent) somehtin you cannot do with a sefer

FrumWithQuestions said...

Josh- I don't think that answer makes any sense. I have gone to shul and kept my talis bag on my lap because there were a limited amount of seats and I did not want to prevent someone else from sitting down. It is proper etiquette to keep other people in mind. These people don't have other people in mind. What buffer zone are they talking about. Let them change their seat if they want a buffer zone but don't take away someones seat.

Rescue- You are just repeating what I learned in Mishnah Berurah so it doesn't help me with my question on whether or not you can sit on one or sit next to one.

joshwaxman said...

and maybe, when they left their tallis bag there, there were plenty of seats? should they be awkwardly be holding their tallis bag throughout davening because *eventually* enough people might come and the space might be required?
BTW, each of my suggestions were a separate suggestion. if there are other seats available, you don't necessarily want the (possibly large, unshowered) fellow to be seated next to you. Put your tallis bag on the seat, and instead he will take the seat two over from you. I don't think these people would consciously deprive someone of a seat at all for the purpose of buffer zone, such that they are being selfish. Rather, one can encourage certain behavior without being overt about it.
And quite likely (almost certainly!), they would not mind if you double up their tallis bags.
It is a matter of getting into the mind of these people, and choosing to be "dan lekaf zechut." And not everybody accomplishes this task equally well, just as much as some people are oblivious to how others will take their action, and people accomplish that task to different degrees.

Rescue can answer for himself, but I believe he was attempting to answer that it is only siddurim and chumashim, which have Divine names and pesukim, and thus suggesting that a prohibition formulated for one would not translate to the other. Indeed, that seems to be what people were stating on mail-jewish.

rescue said...

In my humble opinion (I have not asked a Rav) since they are only tshmishei kedushah they deserve some respect, but sitting on the same bench as them is not disrespect. As far as sitting on them, I don't know. I can tell you that when I was in E"Y we would use the tallis bag for Aleinu on R"H when we doen on the floor. My Rebbe then said that if that is the intention you had when you started using it, that would be fine, but if you had an intention that the bag would be for your tallis only then you could not. Maybe in the same vain you could say here that if you had an intention of your tallis bag being able to be used for other purposes then maybe it can be used as a seat cushion

FrumWithQuestions said...

I have davened in a Yeshiva a few times and I have never seen anyone use their Talis bags for Aleinu. Poeple use paper towels or some other item but never a talis bag.

I try to be "dan lekaf zechut." but it is hard when there are no seats and the person still doesn't move their talis bag. This morning I actually took someones talis bag and moved it over since they didn't when I was looking for a seat.

AlanLaz said...

It's really an interesting phenomenon; that in any weekday minyan a certain number of seats are designated for Tefillin. Even if the place is packed and people don't have seats, people rarely move their stuff.